Toni Bentley, The Surrender, Author, New York Times

by Toni Bentley
Reprinted from PLAYBOY, November 2004
Toni Bentley's THE SURRENDER - Best Books of 2004 - Publishers Weekly

How one woman learned to adore her other side – and the man who took her there.

His was first. In my ass.

I don’t know the exact length, but it’s definitely too big—just right. Of medium width, neither too slender nor too thick. Beautiful. My ass, tiny, tight, and tightly wound. Twenty-five years of winding as a ballet dancer. Since age four. Turning out the legs from the hips winds up that pelvic floor like a corkscrew. I worked my gut all my life standing at that ballet barre. Now it is being unworked.

His cock, my ass, unwinding. Divine.

This is the back-story of a love story. A back-story that is the whole story. A second hole story, to be exact. Colette declared that you couldn’t write about love while in its heady hold, as if only love lost resonates. No hindsight for me in this great love but rather behind-sight. This is a story where the front matter is brief and the end matter is all. When you’ve been sodomized as much as I have, things get both very philosophical and very silly very quickly. My brain has been rocked along with my guts.

Toni Bentley THE SURRENDER in PlayboyAs he enters me I let go, millimeter by millimeter, of the tensing, pulling, tightening, gripping. I am addicted to extreme physical endurance, the marathon of uncoiling intensity. I release my muscles, my tendons, my flesh, my anger, my ego, my rules, my censors, my parents, my cells, my life. At the same time I draw him inward. Releasing out and pulling in, one thing.

Bliss, I learned from being sodomized, is experiencing eternity in a moment of real time. It is the ultimate sexual act of trust. You could really get hurt—if you resist. But push past that fear, literally pass through it, and ah the joy that lies on the other side of convention. The peace that is past the pain. Once absorbed, it is neutralized and allows for transformation. Pleasure alone is mere temporary indulgence, a subtle distraction, an anesthetization while on the path to something higher, deeper, lower. Eternity lies far beyond pleasure. And beyond pain. The edge of my ass is the sexual event horizon, the boundary beyond which there is no escape.

Anal sex is about cooperation. Cooperation in an endeavor of aristocratic politics, involving rigid hierarchies, feudal positions, and monarchist attitudes. One is in charge, the other obedient. There is no democratic, affirmative-action safety net swinging below ass-fuckers. You can’t half-ass butt-fuck. It’s a high-wire act— there are no understudies, no back-ups, for anal Cirque du Soleil.

The truth always shows itself with the ass. It doesn’t know how to lie, it can’t: it hurts, physically, if you lie. The pussy, on the other hand, can and does so all the time. Pussies are designed to fool men with their slippery shores and open harbor. My pussy proposes the question; my ass answers. Sodomy is the event in which Rainier Maria Rilke’s hallowed dictum to “live the question” is finally answered. Anal penetration resolves the dilemma of duality that is introduced and magnified by vaginal penetration. It transcends all opposites, all conflicts – positive and negative, good and bad, shallow and deep, pleasure and pain, love and death– and unifies them, renders all one. This, for me, is therefore The Act. Butt-fucking offers spiritual resolution. Who knew?

I am an atheist by inheritance. I came to know God experientially, from being fucked in the ass—over and over and over again. I am a slow learner and a gluttonous hedonist. And I was even more surprised than you are now by this curiously rude awakening to a mystic state. There it was: God’s big surprise, His subtle humor and potent presence, manifested in my ass. Well, it sure is one way to convert a skeptic.

If I were asked to choose for the rest of my life only one place of penetration, I would choose my ass. My pussy has been too wounded by false expectations and uninvited entries, by movements too selfish, too shallow, too fast, or too unconscious. My ass, knowing only him, knows only bliss. The penetration is deeper, more profound; it rides the edge of sanity. The direct path through my bowels to God has become clear.

Norman Mailer sees the sexual routes in reverse: “So that was how I finally made love to her, a minute for one, a minute for the other, a raid on the Devil and a trip back to the Lord.” But Mailer is a man, a penetrator, not a recipient, not a submissive. He hasn’t been, I assume, in my compromising position.

My yearning is so cavernous, so deep, so old yet so young, that only a big cock buried deep in my ass has ever filled it. He is that cock. The one that saved me. He is my answer to every man who came before him. My revenge.

I see his cock as a therapeutic instrument. Perhaps the wound is not psychological, but truly the space inside that yearns for God. Perhaps it is merely the yearning of a woman who thinks she cannot have Him. A woman whose daddy told her long ago that there is no God.

But I want God.

Having a cock in her ass really gives a woman focus. Receptivity becomes activity, not passivity. His cock pierces my yang – my desire to know, control, understand, and analyze – and forces my yin – my openness, my vulnerability – to the surface. I cannot do this alone, voluntarily. I must be forced.

He fucks me into my femininity. Being a liberated woman, it is the only way I can go there and retain my dignity. Turned over, ass in the air, I have little choice but to succumb and lose my head. This is how I can enjoy an experience my intellect would never allow, a betrayal to Olive Schreiner, Margaret Sanger, and Betty Friedan, and an affront, from the rear, to many modern feminists. But having been to the other side, there is no going back to control, to being on top, to men more feminine than I am. This is simply how my liberation manifested itself. Emancipation through the backdoor would never be, for any rational woman, a choice. It can only happen as a gift. A surprise.

Humiliation is my greatest devil, but when the eye of my terror is entered I experience my fear as unfounded. It is through this physical surrender, this forbidden pathway, that I have found my self, my voice, my spirit, my courage. This is no feminist treatise about equality; this is the truth about the beauty and power of submission. I have happened upon the great cosmic joke, God’s supreme irony. Enter the exit. Paradise waits.

I am, you see, a woman who has been in search of surrender my whole life – to find something, someone, to whom I could subsume my ego, my will, my miserable mortality. I tried various religions and various men. I even tried a religious man. And then he found me, the agnostic who demanded my submission.

“Bend over,” he’d say, gently, firmly. I can hear it now – echoing in the bowels of my being.

Toni Bentley in the New York Times Book Review

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